Duo of Greenbrier Farms Lamb at American Grocery

American Grocery - Greenbrier Farms duo of lamb

I always enjoy a visit to my favorite restaurant in Greenville, American Grocery. This particular trip was a date night and just happen to be our two week wedding anniversary. Jen and I both agreed we need a break, and Jen suggested AGR. It might have had something to do with them having Paella on the menu. If you’ve been to AGR, you know. Their menu changes every single day. If they have Paella on Thursday, that doesn’t mean it’ll be there on Friday. Knowing this, I still called and got reservations. I spoke with Darlene, owner and in-house sommelier, when I called. After the reservation was made, I asked if she thought the Paella would be on the menu tomorrow (Friday). She offered to ask Chef Clarke, owner, chef and husband to Darlene. I told her not to worry about that, we are coming anyway.

Making a long story, longer…on Friday afternoon I peeked at the menu (Darlene uploads the menu for that night in the late afternoon), the Paella was gone. When we arrived, however, we were greeted by Darlene, who whispered that they had saved one Paella for Jen. Awesome! Love AGR!

I started my meal with the Crispy Veal Sweetbread, crispy farm egg, sea island pea hash, green garlic cream, pickled ramps (pictured below). It was great. I love when chefs us offal, I think it truly respects the animal when you use every thing you can. This veal was super crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside. The egg was perfectly cooked as well with the yolk broken, I mixed it together with the other ingredients. The pea hash and pickled ramps where delicious. Like most dishes at AGR, all the components of the dish are good, but together they are perfect.

My entree was the Duo of Local Lamb, sunchoke – potato cream, wild mushrooms, swiss chard, lamb jus (pictured above). The first of the lamb duo seemed to have been maybe braised, then shredded, then formed back, then seared. It tasted a lot like a REALLY good pulled pork medallion. On top of that was house made mustard which matched perfectly. The second lamb was loin that was tender and juice and cooked perfectly. Chef might have cooked this in a very similar way to how he prepares his duck breast. The outside was crunchy and almost sweet and as you can see (click on the above image to see a larger version) the inside was pink. The wild mushrooms added the earthiness and the swiss chard added that bitter punch. The lamb jus was deep, rich and very flavorful. The sunchoke – potato cream was also rich and very creamy and was the glue holding this fabulous meal together. Again, perfect.

As a side note, Jennifer did get the Paella (pictured below). Her meal consisted of AGR Paella – cobia, mussels, shrimp, calamari, chorizo, saffron rice, spring vegetables. I tasted it and it was delicious. The rice and chorizo alone would have been worth getting this dish. You then add a bunch of fresh seafood and it was over the top.

Crispy Veal Sweetbread, crispy farm egg, sea island pea hash, green garlic cream, pickled ramps
AGR Crispy Veal Sweetbread
AGR Paella – cobia, mussels, shrimp, calamari, chorizo, saffron rice, spring vegetables
AGR Paella
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Duo of Greenbrier Farms Lamb at American Grocery

Farm to Table Dinner featuring Stone Brewing at Greenbrier Farms

Very rarely do events like this come to such a happy confluence. I really like Stone Brewery. I love Greenbrier Farms and I love American Grocery. When I was invited to the Farm to Table Dinner that featured all three I was ecstatic. One of my favorite Chefs preparing food from my favorite farm, pared with beer from one of my favorite breweries. Awesome…and it was.

Five courses of exquisite, is how I would define this meal. I have to say that it was A LOT of food and A LOT of heavy food but WOW. My favorite course was the fourth (image above). Basically it was pulled pork, but made into “paddy” then seared so it had a nice crust. The mustard was house made and brilliant. Collard greens and grits are about as southern as you can get and went perfectly with the pork. YUM!

I also I loved the charcuterie and the salad course as well. Actually the whole meal was brilliant and the beers were delicious and bountiful. Below I tried to remember all the courses and beer parings. I might have forgotten something, but that should be pretty close.

Courses

  1. Charcuterie with grilled bread. Like pate (terrine or head cheese) with all kinds of goodies (lamb and pork head).
  2. Salad with greens, pickled green tomatoes, roasted red and white beets, turnips vinaigrette.
  3. Cassoulet deconstructed. White and red bean, kale, chicken confit, pork belly, aioli, green tomato chow chow.
  4. Pork roulette (pulled pork, crispy sear), housemade mustard seed mustard, collards, Anson Mills grit cake, pork and lamb demiglaze.
  5. Ginger and molasses cake, butterscotch Chantilly, whipped cream quenelle.

Beer Parings

  1. Stone IPA
  2. Stone Pale Ale
  3. Stone Levitation Ale
  4. Stone Smoked Porter
  5. Stone Imperial Russian Stout

If you are not familiar with Greenbrier Farms, they are a small farm located outside of Greenville, SC and are definitely on my Favorites Products List.

American Grocery is my favorite restaurant in this area. If you’ve been following this blog you undoubtedly know this. I have written about them on several occasions.

Farm to Table Dinner featuring Stone Brewing at Greenbrier Farms

2011 Greenville Restaurant Week at Devereaux’s and American Grocery

American Grocery, downtown Greenville, SC

Every year South Carolina puts on a Restaurant Week celebration. Through-out the state some of the nicer restaurants offer a prix fixe 3 course menu which is generally offered for around $30. Most of these restaurants usually have entrees that cost $30, so this is a really good deal. Restaurant Week in Greenville is a huge success with most of the restaurants staying packed the whole week. I love the idea because I believe it exposes many to restaurants they might not normally go to and cuisine they might not normally try. Brilliant!

So for a raging foodie like me it is heaven. This year we visited two of my favorite restaurants in Greenville; American Grocery and Devereaux’s. I’ve said this before but it is not easy to “shock” my palate with something I wasn’t expecting. Both of these restaurants succeed in doing that more often then not. Below are the sample Restaurant Week menus for each restaurant.

We first visited Devereaux’s with a group of friends. It was nice because between us all we had one of every thing. I had Rabbit Risotto (Rabbit Confit, orange zest, chive and asiago), Roasted Duck Breast (pictured below), and the Rosemary Funnel Cake (Pumpkin crisp ice cream, orange and honey, also pictured below) with wine pairings.

First the risotto; what stuck with me was the orange zest. The rabbit was great and the actual risotto was tender and creamy (what I would expect from a great risotto). The orange zest just gave the dish a big, citrus punch that caught me off guard (in a good way). The duck was cooked perfectly (which if you’ve cooked duck, isn’t always the easiest to do), with a sweet, chard crust on the out side and almost rare inside. The rice and vegetables that came with it where very nice and the savory demi-glaze was a perfect balance with the rich duck. My final course was the rosemary funnel cake. I have to say that I didn’t taste a lot of rosemary more ginger, but it was delicious. The ice cream and crisp finished the meal very well.

Our second trip was to American Grocery. Let me start by saying this is my favorite restaurant in Greenville. We go pretty regular. This meal was the best I have had at this restaurant. I had Red Fern Farm Lamb Albondigas (lima bean hummus, parsley salad), Blue Chip Farm Rabbit Loin ‘Pasta’ (swiss chard, carrot – bacon cream) and Buttermilk Panna Cotta (citrus soup, almond tuile) with wine pairings.

The first course was Lamb Albondigas, which are basically Spanish lamb meat balls and they were amazing. They were not overly rich and the lima bean hummus and peppery parsley balanced the dish very well. My main course was one of the best things I have eaten (the photo is at the top of the page). Rabbit Lion cooked confit in duck fat. Ridiculous! The fresh pasta made in house was so tender. The bitterness of the swiss chard. And all tied together with a carrot, bacon cream. I wanted to lick the bowl. Seriously, I wanted to lick the bowl and if it wasn’t so crowded I might have. Perfect! My dessert course was a Buttermilk Panna Cotta. It was very good but nothing that blew me away. Nothing could have lived up to my previous course. The panna cotta was not overly sweet, which works for me. The almond tuile had a fair amount of sweetness and added nice crunch. The citrus soup was great with bits of grapefruit it added a nice acidity.

If you have never been to some of these restaurants, Restaurant Week or Foodie Fest (in Greenville) are great opportunities. I highly suggest giving them a try. You may like them, you may not but for $30 you can’t beat it.

Devereaux's duck, downtown Greenville, SC
Roasted Duck Breast, Devereaux’s

Jen and Tracey at Devereauxs

Funnel Cake at Devereaux's, Main Street, downtown Greenville, SC
Rosemary Funnel Cake, Devereaux’s

Tracey and Jim at Devereauxs

2011 Greenville Restaurant Week at Devereaux’s and American Grocery

Braised Beef Tongue, Herbed Gnocchi, Smoked Tomato Sauce at American Grocery

Braised Beef Tongue, herbed gnocchi, smoked tomatoe sauce

First off, sorry, sorry, sorry for the crappy photo. I hate sitting in restaurants and trying to get that “great shot”. Instead I end up with photos like the above. Oh well, you get the gist. On to the food…

If you know me, you probably know that American Grocery, at the West End in downtown Greenville, SC, is my favorite restaurant in town. As I have mentioned in previous posts, Chef Clarke’s ever changing menu continually shocks and impresses me. On this evening, we were downtown in the middle of the week for a friends art show and on a whim stopped by AGR. I had Braised Beef Tongue, Herbed Gnocchi with a Smoked Tomato Sauce and it was, as usual, YUM!

If the thought of eating beef tongue grosses you out, I am sure you are not alone. In fact, when cooked appropriately, it is extremely flavorful and tender. In this case it WAS cooked properly, braised until tender and full of flavor. The Chef must have seared it before or after the braise because it was nice and crisp on the out side, but melt in your mouth tender inside. The gnocchi I would describe as little pillows of heaven, tender and delicious. I didn’t really taste the “herb” in them, but they were very good. The smoked tomato sauce made the dish, rich yet acidic, it seemed to make the gnocchi lighter and the beef tongue richer. You could definitely taste the smoke and spice, but it wasn’t over done at all. Finally the meal was topped with peppery arugula and shaved Parmesan it give a little lightness and contrast.

As with most meals I have enjoyed at AGR, each component of the meal was great but together amazing. Please see my last post (Duck, Jeweled Couscous and Dandelion Greens at American Grocery) for more information on AGR. If you are a foodie like me, you will love this restaurant.

Braised Beef Tongue, Herbed Gnocchi, Smoked Tomato Sauce at American Grocery

Duck, Jeweled Couscous and Dandelion Greens at American Grocery

duck-couscous-dandelion-greensOn this occasion (this was like 3 months ago during Foodie Week) during my visit to American Grocery I had the Duck, Jeweled Couscous and Dandelion Greens. I am ashamed to admit that I can’t remember what the jus was, but it was good, I do remember that much. The duck was a little chewy, which even the best preparation of duck can sometimes be. The dandelion greens where very bitter, which they always are no matter what preparation they get. The couscous was jeweled with currents and I think dried cranberries which was a little sweet for me. With all that said, I loved this dish. I would not have raved about it if either of the sides were by themselves. The bitterness of dandelion greens and the sweetness of the couscous balanced each other perfectly. Then add the rich and savoriness that the duck and jus brought, well, it was amazing.

More about American Grocery
American Grocery in downtown Greenville, South Carolina may be one of my favorite restaurants in the world. Super fresh ingredients, the menu changes daily based on available ingredients and a dedication to farm to table cooking. The sophistication of their food is amazing. Many times I look at the menu and think, “I won’t like that because of X ingredient”, then I try it and I love it. If you are from this area or visit this part of the country, do yourself a favor and give them a try. This is high end cuisine people, so if you are the buffet type, don’t go here. Consider yourself warned, that Chef Clarke serves an appropriate portion size and the cost is on the higher end for this area. If you are going to have wine or drinks (I highly recommend the bacon infused bourbon) then prepare to spend over $100 for two.

Duck, Jeweled Couscous and Dandelion Greens at American Grocery